The Role You Play
In the story of Jesus at the wedding of Cana, we often focus on the miracle of Jesus turning the water into wine; but not just any wine, it was the best wine. Of course, it was the wine steward who recognized the quality of the wine. But there were more people involved in this miracle than Jesus, his mother and the wine steward. There were the servants. The ones who were tasked with filling the six water vessels full of water. They were also tasked with drawing out what they had put in and taking it to the chief steward.
Usually what we focus on in this story is the miracle of the water becoming wine, that is something ordinary becoming extraordinary. But it is not just the wine that becomes extraordinary. The servants called to carry out the task have become extraordinary. God’s work in Christ becomes that more powerful and real to all of us when we participate together.
When the Chief Priest tasted the water that had become wine, he exclaimed that everyone always serves the good wine first and later that not so good, but this bridegroom had the good wine served last.
What makes the servants extraordinary in this story is not the work they did. It was work. It would not have been any more extraordinary than if they had brought in water from the purest springs. Or if they were the chief bottle washers or executives in chief. What made them extraordinary is that they were witnesses to what Christ was doing because they had answered the call to serve.
No one knew where the good wine had come from, except the servants who had drawn the water. When we become the servants, who carry out the work of Christ, it does not matter what our tasks are, we become extraordinary in that we get to witness the miracle working right in front of us. It means we can testify to work of God in Christ Jesus.
In 1st Corinthians, Paul addresses concerns about spiritual gifts and the arguments going on about who had the more important gifts, whose work they deemed to be the most spiritual.
Paul writes back to this community to say that everyone who belongs to the house of God is endowed with certain spiritual gifts. No one’s spiritual gifts are any greater than anyone else’s. The point being, no one was more superior to another in terms of what gift they brought to the community. What was important was that each one shared the gifts of the Spirit they had received.
For that was the purpose of their spiritual gifts; to be used for the sake of the community of faith. While each person had different unique gifts to share and may well have been at different stages in their spiritual maturity, never-the-less, together, they would make the complete body of Christ function.
When each part functioned properly, like the servants who witnessed the miracle of Christ when they filled the vessels and drew the wine from them, this community would witness the power of God working through them.
There is more than one miracle taking place here than water being turned into wine or a life being healed, or a soul being forgiven. Often, the greater miracle that takes place is when a group, like a church, truly works together doing their part to function as a whole so that people’s lives are changed. God works through people like us to advance His Kingdom.
I hope that as we begin this new year, we can focus on what each of us brings to this body of Christ. What role we all are called to play. Now some of what we are all called to do is similar like your prayers and your presence. I don’t expect everybody to be here every Sunday, but I would hope that you come in the loving spirit of Christ to be inspired, but not just to be blessed, but also to be a blessing to be the church.
Let your presence here lead you to more prayer in your life and let more prayer in your life lead you to discover more of what your spiritual gifts are if you are not already aware of what they are. Let your discernment of prayer lead you to realize more of the roles you each play. And I hope and pray that you all will make more time for study and reflection not only by yourselves but in a group.
But trust me, there is more to church than just filling and empty pew. Paul talks about the different spiritual gifts; gifts of preaching, teaching, healing, prophecy, even tongues, if any of you have those gifts let me know and we can talk about what that could mean for the ministry of our church, but just as important as those gifts are, there are the gifts of hospitality, the gifts of management or stewardship. There is also the gift of encouragement, the gift of organization, the gift of cooking, the gift of cleaning, the gift of greeting and ushering, counting.
You see there are so many things that take place in a church, that it takes all of us no matter how big or small we think our gifts may be, to our Lord and Savior they all are essential. Maybe Jesus could have filled the 30-gallon jars of water by himself, but he didn’t, He used those who were there to serve. And they got to witness what Jesus did.
How encouraging is that when you get to watch miracles happen. You get to be a part of it. The great thing about miracles is not that we get to watch old water be turned into new wine, but our old gifts are transformed into new instruments working like a well-oiled machine, like a perfectly working clock; many parts making up one body. Just as the Spirit chooses.
So, this year let us all discern through attendance and through prayer how our gifts of the spirit of talent can become one together in the spirit of God’s love to create miracles that we get to watch happen because Christ has called us to serve. Amen.